Sulforaphane has attracted a lot of attention from scientists and medical public in recent years due to its potential health benefits, but understanding how it is activated takes a little understanding.

So how does sulforaphane work?

Sulforaphane is a sulfur-rich compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, with higher amounts coming from broccoli sprouts. These cruciferous vegetables contain glucoraphanin, an inactive compound in the glucosinolate family. Sulforaphane becomes activated once glucoraphanin comes into contact with myrosinase, an enzyme in these foods.

Myrosinase enzymes become activated once the vegetables are broken down, chopped or chewed and only then is this powerful sulforaphane compound activated.

That’s the clever stuff done…. but why should you be eating it and what are the benefits of this powerful antioxidant to your health?

Actually, there are many benefits including:

  • promoting detoxification
  • lowering cholesterol
  • preventing heart and cardiovascular disease
  • improving liver function
  • may prevent certain cancers from forming
  • containing anti-inflammatory properties
  • enhancing mitochondrial function

Do you know about broccoli sprouts?

Broccoli sprouts pack tons of nutrition and are a great source of sulforaphane. You might not have heard about them before but they are tender baby broccoli plants that look like alfalfa or bean sprouts.

They are eaten when they’re just a few days old and usually raw in salads, so their delicate balance of nutrition isn’t damaged by cooking. Luckily, as broccoli sprouts are becoming more popular they can be bought from good health food shops, farmers markets or you can easily sprout your own at home from seeds.

Including broccoli sprouts and other members of the cruciferous family alongside your colourful plant based diet may support your health goals.

(warning: some people may be intolerant to sulfur-containing vegetables)

To enhance your consumption of sulforaphane some people may benefit from supplements.

I recommend Cruciferous Extra as this unique supplement includes the enzyme myrosinase in the capsule, which aids efficient conversion of glucoraphanin to sulforaphane in the gut, allowing for rapid absorption.